Tag Archives: Rangers

The NBA Free Agency Circus, Led by Ringmaster DeAndre

In case you have been on Mars, Pluto, or in a no-Internet zone, you have missed a WHALE of an early free agency period in the NBA.

LeBron is a free agent. Okay, not really. Dwayne Wade is a free agent. Speculation was that he would join LeBron in Cleveland. He did not. He stayed in Miami, the only home he’s ever known. There are countless others who are being courted, or who have already decided where they are going to play. To check out the full list, click here.

  • Kevin Love, off the market.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, off the market.
  • Goren Dragic, off the market.
  • DeAndre Jordan, off the market. On the Market. Off the market. On? Off?

Jordan’s story is one of intrigue, indecision and reneging on his word.

According to the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement found hereThere is a specified time that teams can negotiate contracts BUT CANNOT SIGN them.

Each season, the NBA has a Moratorium Period in which teams may hold negotiations, but cannot sign contracts. Limited exceptions to this rule apply to Rookie Scale Contracts with first round draft picks, minimum contracts of one or two seasons (with draft picks and free agents) and acceptance of Qualifying Offers by Restricted Free Agents. The Moratorium Period for the remainder of the term of the CBA will be as follows:

  • 2015-16 July 1, 2015 through July 8, 2015
  • 2016-17 July 1, 2016 through July 11, 2016
  • 2017-18 July 1, 2017 through July 11, 2017
  • 2018-19 July 1, 2018 through July 10, 2018
  • 2019-20 July 1, 2019 through July 9, 2019
  • 2020-21 July 1, 2020 through July 8, 2020

The drama between DeAndre Jordan, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Clippers will surely change the landscape of this agreement. I would be surprised if this is still in effect next year.

In essence, the player holds all the cards. For example, Jordan agreed verbally with the Dallas Mavericks to join them as a free agent signing. He was courted by several Dallas sports icons, including: Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Jerry Jones and others.

Ultimately, it was Jordan’s decision. In the NBA, verbal agreements mean nothing. In business matters, the only things that matter are signed contracts. Even then, they often aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on because of the “renegotiations” that occur.

Let’s say Player A signs a 4-year deal. After one year, he has a monster season and demands more money. He already has a signed contract, a legal, binding document. However, he is allowed to threaten to sit out games or a season if he does not get a new contract. This is where we are in sports. In real life, you would be sued in court for breach of contract.

deandre jordan dunk faceFor the purposes of this article, Jordan’s word was worth a $3 bill. It is within his right to do what he wants. It’s HIS life. His career. What he did to the Dallas Mavericks is both deplorable and juvenile, even for a 26-year-old.

How, you say?

  1. He held the Mavericks hostage, because once he agreed to terms with them, he locked up some $80 million dollars and change. Money they didn’t have to pursue others.
  2. By going back on his word, he hamstrung the Mavericks in every phase of the game. His indecision caused the Mavericks problems in going after other potential free agents. Granted, that was the Mavericks fault for not going after other big men once they thought they had landed their big fish. They let Tyson Chandler go. They let Monta Ellis go. They let Al-Farouq Aminu go. Thinking they got a good big man caused the Mavericks to pause and take a breather, and that will cost them dearly.
  3. His reported refusal to speak with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to let him know he decided to return to the Clippers was nothing short of childish. As a man, he owed that much to a man who was willing to pay him a LOT of money.
  4. Because of this decision, the Mavericks have not only lost out on Jordan, but the wheels are likely set in motion for Rick Carlisle‘s exit, as well. Carlisle is on record stating that he will not stick around for a rebuilding session.

This is a free country where we are free to choose what we will and will not do. Once upon a time, many moons ago, the Greatest Generation (baby boomers) did business with a handshake. To them, a man’s word was his bond. You did what you said, and said what you did. If you wanted to do something, no contracts were needed. Your word was as good as gold. Not anymore.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

The days of true team players like Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan are coming to a close. These two men epitomize class and respect for the game. Both men have made a lot of money and left a lot of money on the table so that their respective franchises can compete for championships.

It will be a sight to see when the Clippers visit the American Airlines Center for the first time. It will probably be deafening inside, but not for the right reasons, if you are DeAndre Jordan. In fact, if you were to take a poll in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for most-hated  NBA villians, the following would probably be true:

  1. Los Angeles Clippers
  2. DeAndre Jordan
  3. James Harden
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. San Antonio Spurs

Take a step back for a moment and consider the most recent athlete to experience the ire of the entire DFW Metroplex. Bear in mind that this fan base really isn’t prone to boo. Only after exhausting their hopes and dreams will they resort to booing.

When Josh Hamilton played his last season for the Texas Rangers in 2012, he was by all estimations mailing it in. The strikeouts, jogging in the outfield, and lazy running to first base were all there for the fans to see, yet they did not boo. It wasn’t until he started making excuses for why he was not playing well that the tide started to turn, culminating in a remarkable moment in a game that would determine the 2012 AL West Champion. Hamilton dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that gave the Oakland A’s a 7-5 lead in a six-run fourth inning. To make matters worse, he jogged after the dropped ball, with no concern or urgency. Fan anger began to bubble to a boil.

Then in the one-game Wild Card Playoff, after his awful at-bats where he swung at everything in the air or in the dirt, the fans finally had enough and let the boos loose.

Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports
Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports

As bad as that was, it didn’t compare to the booing he received when he came back to Texas with the Angels after he flippantly stated that Arlington was not a “baseball town.” The booing he received as an Angel was incredible. I was at a game and could not believe it. Not even Alex Rodriguez got that much hatred.

Josh Hamilton‘s experience will pale in terms of what DeAndre Jordan will get. I shudder to think of how that will sound in an enclosed stadium. Heaven forbid if he has to make free throws to win the game. It appears that he did NOT want to “be the man” in Dallas, but is perfectly happy being the “third option” behind CP3 and Blake Griffin.

Right now, I am sure Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers, and CP3 are all removing their red noses and clown makeup. After all, this is the NBA circus.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. Ronnie co-hosts The Fanatics on Monday nights from 7-9pm on KTSR-db. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

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Ballpark Memories of Palmer & Murphy, and One Giant Hot Dog

MLB
MLB

What started out as a seemingly normal family outing to the ballpark to take in some Major League Baseball this past weekend turned out to be a great moment of reflection for me. Not only was it one year to the day since I sat in that very same stadium and, sadly, saw my team lose, but I was also reminded of a couple of former players who made an impact on me. This particular game between the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians would turn out to be quite memorable, and no, not just for the rather large hot dog bun, filled to the edges with chili and cheese and corn chips. (I believe the dog itself was buried underneath, somewhere.)

WKYC.com
WKYC.com

As the Cleveland Indians lined up to bat in the top half of the 1st inning, I soon directed my attention to a familiar face, outfielder David Murphy. While I would say he was a significant fan favorite to the Rangers faithful, there was nothing about his stats in the seven seasons he played here which really stood out. He was a consistently inconsistent hitter and fielder, with moderately unimpressive numbers overall, but stats alone are not what makes every professional athlete popular with the fans.

ESPN
ESPN

Think for an moment about your personal relationships. What are the aspects that make one stand out? We tend to forget the good times when one bad moment occurs, and visa-versa. Either way, the relationship made an impact on your life, and the reason(s) why do not always matter. For me, Murphy was oddly similar to a former Rangers favorite from a generation ago: Dean Palmer. Now, I realize that one is a lefty while the other was a righty. They do not play the same position on the field, either, but when I think about what made me like Palmer versus what makes me like Murphy, that’s where I draw the comparison, and what ultimately makes Murphy memorable, regardless of his overall production.

CBS Sports
CBS Sports

I can point to specific moments, for both of these men, when the game was on the line and everyone in the world watching was thinking, “Oh, no. I’m not sure he can get it done.” Neither Murphy nor Palmer is the type of player who gives you total confidence that you can depend on, but that quality is actually what made those moments of pressure so much greater. You see, when a great hitter steps up, you expect greatness, no matter what. When a poor hitter steps up to the plate, you don’t expect anything. However, when a spotty hitter, such as Palmer or Murphy walks up, you really don’t know what to expect, even when their history has shown you exactly what you should expect. These guys are relatable because we as human beings are known to be unpredictable. We often say we don’t like drama, yet that is most often what we are drawn to.

As I continued digesting my chili cheese monstrosity, I soon discovered another reason why Murphy reminded not just me, but at least one other fan, of why he is reminiscent of Palmer. It came late in the game, the top half of the 7th, to be precise. The score was close, and Murphy was the batter for Cleveland. A fan to my right shouted something to the effect of, “I miss you, Murphy!” Someone behind him asked if he was serious, and the former rescinded his statement, explaining it away as a joke, proceeding to say that Murphy couldn’t hit. Whether I was just caught up in the moment and felt the urge to go on the defense, I posited with the quip, “He’s clutch.”

Much like Palmer, who, also, was not a consistently good hitter, he often delivers the goods when it really counts. Could it be that this is the crux of why fans miss a guy like Murphy? I don’t know, but we all enjoy feeling we are in the right when someone nods along  and echoes your sentiment just seconds after you have made a claim and are proven correct.

Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News

As for the rest of the game, the big inning for the visiting Tribe came in the top half of the 9th. The bottom of the order was on deck, and it seemed that the Rangers should have the game in the bag, but closer Neftali Feliz gave up a crucial walk to an unimpressive batter, and a throwing error on a near game-ending double play kept the Indians alive long enough to send red-hot second baseman Jason Kipnis to the plate, who launched a two-run blast beyond right field, granting Cleveland a 10-8 lead. Texas had come from behind several times throughout the game, but came up short when they needed it the most.

By the end of the night, I had enjoyed a competitive game of Major League Baseball, and taken myself on an unexpected trip down memory lane with David Murphy and Dean Palmer. My parents were quick to retreat back home, and I merrily made my way with a flashback to where I was exactly one year ago to the day: At a double-digit Rangers drubbing at the hands of the Chicago White Sox. This May’s game was much more exciting, but in the end, a loss is still a loss. At least I have my memories… And the chili stains on my shirt.


Alex Moore is a Contributor at The Scoop.

NHL Eastern Conference Finals Preview

NHL Eastern Conf LogoNew York Rangers vs Tampa Bay Lighting

Game 1: @New York      May 16
Game 2: @New York      May 18
Game 3: @Tampa Bay   May 20
Game 4: @Tampa Bay   May 22
Game 5: @New York      May 24*
Game 6: @Tampa Bay   May 26*
Game 7: @New York      May 29*
*if necessary
Season series: Tampa Bay won all three games by a total score of 15-7


Lightning Forwards

sportsnet.ca
sportsnet.ca

Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and koNikita Kucherov are a ridiculously good line, and will be tough for the opposing defense to handle. They are highly skilled and very fast. They have to be great in order to push Steven Stamkos to the back burner. Stamkos has struggled to score goals in these playoffs (3 goals in 13 games), but he can still be a force if he gets hot. As for Ryan Callahan, it will be interesting to see how he plays coming off of appendectomy surgery. I’m sure he will be full of adrenaline facing his former team.

Rangers Forwards
Paul J. Bereswill
Paul J. Bereswill

I’m not a big fan of the New York forwards. There isn’t any one player to dial in on for a big goal, but they somehow seem to get the goal when it’s needed. Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard lead New York with five goals apiece. Rick Nash is once again missing in the playoffs; he has two goals during this playoff run. After a 42 goal regular season, it seemed he was poised for a breakout postseason.

Advantage: Tampa Bay


Tampa Bay Defense

USA Today
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Victor Hedman is the puck-moving defenseman that every coach wants. He is fast and has wonderful skill with the puck, the proverbial quarterback on the blueline. Anton Stralman is a defenseman’s defenseman. He may only be 5’11”, but he plays bigger than that.

New York Defense
NHL.com
NHL.com

I’m sure the Rangers wish this series could be played in three weeks. They are in a physical disarray with Dan Boyle getting demolished by Brooks Orpik in game 7 and the beating Ryan McDonagh was issued. They will have to rely on the 6 defenders to play as a unit, and use the home games to match up against the Lightning forwards. New York was third in the league with giving up only 2.34 goals per game during the regular season while having the best goal differential at +60.

Advantage: Tampa Bay


Tampa Bay Goalie

Dirk Shadd - Tampa Bay Times
Dirk Shadd – Tampa Bay Times

Ben Bishop has done well in his first playoff run. He hasn’t been stellar, but good enough to win. He is 6’7″, so he takes up a large amount of the net. When he is focused, his angles are covered and doesn’t let in the team-deflating soft goal. If he can be solid in the pipes and give Tampa Bay a chance to win, then he will have done his job.

New York Goalie
USA Today
USA Today

Henrik Lundqvist. Enough said. He has been superb in these playoffs. He boasts a 1.60 goals against average and a save percentage of .944. He allowed only five goals on 110 shots in the last three games, all wins in elimination games, against Washington. With the game 7 win against the Capitals, he tied Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur with six career game 7 wins. Given the fact that New York has played in 14 straight one-goal playoff games, there isn’t anyone better that New York could chose to be minding their net.

Advantage: New York


Prediction

Tampa_Bay_Lightning_Logo_2011.svgI feel that Tampa Bay wins the series in six games. The Lightning offense should be able to overpower a beleaguered Rangers defensive group.

Matt Molina is a Sports Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @MattMMolina.